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February Review

February Review

Postby jschon » Sun Feb 09, 2014 10:57 am

Route description: John Muir Way

Date walked: 09/02/2014

Distance: 80 km

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I started John Muir Way in Musselburgh on Wednesday, February 5th on a gray and rainy day. The trail is marked very clearly with signs at every turn. I combined the sections walking straight to Aberlady on the first day and found it to be very doable due to the flat terrain and lots of alternative beach walking (Check your tide tables for low tide).

I stayed the night in Aberlady at the Old Aberlady Inn and highly recommend their comfortable and affordable bed and breakfast. It was a very reasonable price with excellent service and very comfortable rooms. The next morning, I continued towards North Berwick, but HERE I recommend diverting away from the marked John Muir Trail that follows the road and taking a left across the wooden bridge into the Aberlady wildlife refuge. You can walk the trail to the beach and follow coastal paths straight through Gullane and on to North Berwick. This is tremendously more rewarding than walking the busy road.

I stayed overnight at No 12 Quality B&B in North Berwick and again found it to be very reasonable, comfortable, and inviting. From North Berwick, you could continue to walk the coast, but I opted for the marked trail inland. I HIGHLY recommend waterproof shoes because you will be walking on potentially very muddy and slippery paths through the farmland. It's nice, but personally, I prefer the beach.

I arrived at Dunbar and stayed at the Royal Mackintosh hotel. STAY AWAY, do not go here. It was a bit more expensive and yet, the room was the worst I've seen (to include a hostel in Edinburgh). I had a crack in my door to the hall through which you could peek, along with a broken tv that the staff promised to fix (but never did) and a bathroom light missing a cover that made it feel more like a prison cell with it's electric glow.

Aside from the hotel, Dunbar is beautiful and I highly recommend touring the John Muir Museum and walking through town to see all the historical background. The sun was shining every day and it felt like a bit of paradise (it's not called Sunny Dunny for nothing). I highly recommend The Volunteer pub by the harbor for some excellent local ale and delicious home cooked meals.

The last day, I headed to "Dunglass" to finish the trail. TAKE WARNING - WARNING - WARNING!!!

The end of the trail is on a highway in the middle of nowhere. There is no bus stop, no train station, no town... so you either have to arrange transportation to pick you up or walk to Cockburnspath which is about a mile and a half away to the single store in town and hopefully, catch a bus. There is a bus stop in the hamlet, but it runs infrequently and make sure you get there early enough to catch it back to a town with more services (i.e. train).

I got there late on a Saturday night and missed the last bus, finding myself stranded in the small store in the hamlet square. I had to call a taxi to take me back to Dunbar where I could catch a train back to Glasgow and that cost me 20 pounds. It was an expensive mistake.

All in all, an amazing trail and with 3 days of sunshine- the walk of a lifetime. Just be sure to understand where you are ending and know the bus schedule or have a ride back.
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Joined: Feb 9, 2014

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